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What’s on RNZ News at midday – Dec 10

The Internal Affairs Minister Tracey Martin says it's too early to consider what form of any inquiry into the White Island eruption could take but she suspects it wouldn’t be another Royal Commission; and Opposition leader Simon Bridges  is flying to Whakatane this afternoon to join the local MP National’s Anne Tolley.

1.A rescue helicopter pilot has told of the scene as victims of the erupting volcano Whakaari / White Island were evacuated. 13 people are dead or presumed dead after yesterday's eruption. 31 people are in hospital, many suffering from burns, trauma and respiratory problems.

2.Atleast 12 people are still fighting for their lives in hospital. The eight people who were taken to Waikato Hospital all remain in a critical condition as do the four people who were taken to Auckland’s Middlemore Hospital.     

3.The Prime Minister has been meeting with the injured and the first responders to the volcanic eruption on Whakaari / White Island. Jacinda Ardern first went to visit the patients at Whakatāne Hospital at about 10am this morning, she's now at the Whakatāne Fire Station talking to Kahu helicopter pilots, firefighters and ambulance staff.

4.The police are yet to reveal when they will be able to recover the eight people still missing on Whakaari. Meanwhile, some members of the families of the victims gathered at Te Manuka Tutahi marae this morning for karakia.        

5.The Internal Affairs Minister Tracey Martin says it's too early to consider what form of any inquiry into the White Island eruption could take but she suspects it wouldn’t be another Royal Commission. Questions are already being raised about whether it was safe for tourists to be there and whether police made the right call stopping helicopters from heading back after initial rescue efforts.     

6.Three Australians are believed to be among five people confirmed dead after a volcanic explosion on Whakaari / White Island. Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said eleven other Australians remained unaccounted for and 13 were being treated in hospital.

7.A diving and sightseeing charter boat operator says yesterday's eruption will have a significant impact on the small community of marine operators and Whakatane. Diveworks Charters operator Phil van Dusschoten has been taking tourists fishing and diving around White Island for 24-years.         

8.A passenger on board the cruise which included people who toured to White Island says there is a feeling of disbelief on the ship. ABC journalists Donna Field was on board the Ovation of the Seas cruise ship when the word came through, as the ship was due to leave port. The captain announced that guests and crew from the boat were on a tour to White Island when the volcano had erupted.   

9.A Ngāti Awa leader has confirmed a rāhui has been placed on Whakaari / White Island after the deadly eruption yesterday.Whakatane District Council pou tikanga Pouroto Ngaropo performed the rāhui ceremony early this morning.Ngaropo said the rāhui covers the island and the waters around it.

10. Opposition leader Simon Bridges  is flying to Whakatane this afternoon to join the local MP National’s Anne Tolley. Speaking at Parliament Bridges acknowledged the grief felt by the victims and their families, both in New Zealand and abroad. 

11.The two police officers who apprehended the alleged gunman responsible for the Christchurch mosque shootings can now be named. Senior Constable Jim Manning and Senior Constable Scott Carmody of Canterbury District have had name suppression until today but the order was lifted in court in Christchurch this morning.

12.The Timaru District Council has extended its evacuation area around Rangitata township and is urging people to leave before it is too late.Earlier today, the council advised people living around Rangitata South Branch to evacuate as water levels continue to rise.The evacuation area now extends around the Rangitata township.

13.A guided convoy of about 150 vehicles is set to head south from Franz Josef this afternoon. The West Coast town has been cut off since Saturday, when slips blocked the town from both sides.

14. The Auckland mayor says there will be no major increase in climate change spending next year, despite the council declaring a climate emergency six months ago. 

15.State integrated schools hope the government will reverse its decision to exclude them from millions of dollars in extra property funding. The 330 schools most of them owned by the Catholic church say legal advice supports their claim to a share of the money 

16. NZ,  the UK and Israel are sending dozens more nurses and doctors to Samoa to help fight the measles epidemic. The disease had killed 70 people since October.

17. Director Taika Waititi satirical black comedy Jojo Rabbit has been nominated for the 2020 Golden Global Awards.

18. An ancient penguin species discovered on the Chatham Islands is bridging the gap between extinct giant penguins and their modern relatives. The new species Kupoupou stilwelli lived on the Chatham islands between 60-62 million years ago. 
 

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